Beyond stereotype

Earlier this month, Maclean’s magazine created a challenge for my city when it called Winnipeg the most racist city in Canada. A feature article explained why. While there were those who disagreed with the assessment, or tried to bring nuance to the claims, many others simply set about doing something about it. If the article was “a gift in barbed wire,” as I’ve heard it described, they decided to open the gift, never mind the scratches it might involve.¬†MACLEANS-cover

On Monday evening, Rosanna Deerchild, writer and CBC broadcaster, and face of the recent¬†Maclean’s cover, along with Heather Plett, connection facilitator, invited people to the Forks–whoever wished to come–for an informal dinner and discussion about race relations and the path forward in our city. Some 80 people showed and I among them. Continue reading

Worscht en Rhubuaba

Worscht en Rhubuaba. I can’t actually say it, not correctly at least, not having grown up with Low German (though I learned to understand it as a adult living in Paraguay for a couple of years), but I spent Saturday and part of Sunday last week at an arts festival by that name. Meaning sausage and rhubarb. It was a Manitoba Mennonite Creative Arts Festival so the reference was perfectly appropriate, if somewhat nostalgic, given that nowadays Mennonite writing (“if there is such a thing” — a question one of the Round Tables asked) is so large, so diverse, so out of the village. But never mind that, it was a great event, put together by the energetic and talented Di Brandt and others from Brandon University (Dale Lakevold, Audrey Thiessen). Continue reading

“I felt my skin turn black…”

Son P., who happened to receive a book by Henri Nouwen from us for Christmas, alerted me to a 3-part radio documentary “Genuis Born of Anguish: The Life and Legacy of Henry Nouwen,” coming up on CBC Ideas. I listened to Part I on Wednesday and commend it to you. (Parts II and III follow on Jan. 16 and 23.)

There’s a line in the first part of the documentary I can’t forget. The documentary speaks of how Nouwen came from his native Netherlands to study in the U.S. and how while there was drawn into and became supportive of the civil rights movement. On March 21, 1965 he attended a rally in Montgomery, Alabama, where he heard Martin Luther King speak. Nouwen later wrote, “I felt my skin turn black…” Continue reading